March 29, 2006 12:44 PM PST

AMD lures high-ranking Itanium designer

Advanced Micro Devices has hired Samuel Naffziger, a high-ranking designer of Intel's Itanium processors, and eight of his Fort Collins, Colo.-based colleagues working on the high-end processor.

Naffziger, one of about 50 at Intel who held the rank of fellow, was director of Itanium circuits and technology. He joined the chipmaker in 2005 when Intel hired Itanium designers from Hewlett-Packard, where Naffziger led the Itanium design team for eight years.

Sam Naffziger Sam Naffziger

At AMD, he is a senior fellow and will work on design development, spokesman Phil Hughes said, declining to share further details about what he or the eight other Itanium engineers will do. Because of a 2003 acquisition, AMD has a design center in Longmont, Colo., not far from Fort Collins.

While not the only high-ranking designer behind the Itanium line--Intel argues it still has a deep bench--Naffziger played a leading role. He introduced two major Itanium models to the world at the International Solid State Circuits Conference, the "McKinley" version in 2002 and "Montecito" in 2005.

Naffziger's departure was reported by Real World Technologies.

Intel has had troubles with Itanium--most recently a delay pushing Montecito from 2005 to the second quarter of 2006, which Pat Gelsinger, Intel's top server executive, acknowledged this month was an "embarrassment." But Intel, HP and other Itanium allies still envision a bright future and are spending billions of dollars to restore Itanium's fortunes. Some of that funding is going to an expansion of Itanium engineering staff, Gelsinger said.

AMD took a different approach. Instead of creating a new, incompatible processor family, it beefed up its existing x86 processor line with features such as 64-bit memory addressing. Intel had for a time reserved that only for Itanium, but eventually added those features to its successful Xeon x86 server chip family.

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AMD owns Intel, now Itanic captain jumped ship
I guess his experience wasted on advanced itanic design can now be used in AMD's Opterons and Athlon 64s.

Intel is officially a P6 camp led by Israeli engineers now.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
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still have some assets
"led by Israeli engineers now"

thats probably going to work out better. israel is one of hte leaders in technology.
Posted by duke12aw (24 comments )
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AMD owns Intel? Phff
Yes, at the moment AMD holds perhaps a 5% performance, and perhaps 10-15% in benchmarks per dollar, but that will change. Intel's $$$ processors now hold a 5% advantage over AMD, though, Intel has their plans open, AMD, well, who knows exactly what they will come out with, but at the end of the year, I give Intel a 10% in the high end chips. Lower end, of course, dollar per dollar, I still give AMD advantage, of about 10%, though by the end of 2007, I say Intel will lead AMD by 5% in midrange, and be even in lower end, and have a 15% advantage in high end.

I like AMD, I use them, but lets not be blinded by the truth, Intel is much larger, they might not have a large advantage now chip wise, but their production factories have a LARGE advantage over AMD, thats called capital, and they spend lots of it. Of course in the game of CPU's, well, more often then not, it is the best factory that can assemble the best chips wins, and so that is Intel's advantage, which they will exploit, and keep their market share.

I'm all for AMD, and that guy switched over, but lets not get our hopes up too high, I still think Intel will get back on track. They picked the wrong horse with the P4, but that'll change, no more pentiums, well, now its even again...
Posted by jzsaxpc (43 comments )
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Your figures are questionable
Intel is still a few quarters away from getting on par with AMD's offerings that they currently have. And what they currently have is pretty much the same as what they have had for a couple of years now. Now you all may assume that AMD has just gone to sleep and is not developing next generation technology of their own and that is because they have the lead now and do not have to be so vocal like intel has. Opteron has screwed up years of intel's R&#38;D and intel is now scrambling and hacking stuff together to control the damage. While intel was concerned about clock speed and a new 64bit architecture, AMD changed the game with better power consumption, 32/64bit integration, and memory efficiency. I talked with a high ranking intel employee on a plane ride home, and he said "AMD has been kicking our ass" and "We are more concerned with being the chip marketshare leader in every place you can use a chip than being the performance leader in one or two segments". Money means nothing if you are too big and unfocussed to execute. And this article proves that AMD is going to keep their focus on the server market and continue to innovate. And it seems to me that a few important people have lost faith in the Itanium promise.
Posted by zkysr (78 comments )
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